Paid Well Enough to Not See it Coming…

For 25 years, I have written about the social and natural evolution of Napa, a diverse county that includes rare and valuable biological “hotspots” and 140,000 people, most of whom are associated with what’s now referred to as the wine “industry.” During that time, I have learned something about developers.

Foremost is the fact that inside all of them is a 6-year-old kid dying to get out and dig a really deep hole. When they finally do get to do so, they fill the hole up with something that wasn’t there before and then repeat the experience with minor variations ad infinitum.

More disturbing, with far-reaching ramifications for all Americans, is the other fact: developers deeply, irrationally, and often vindictively resent anyone who objects to their plans, for whatever reason. This includes neighbors, citizens, scientists, clergy, and elected officials. But none receive more opprobrium than “environmentalists.”

James Conaway, Opinion Piece in Napa Register Guard May 26, 2017

http://napavalleyregister.com/wine/land-use-wine-and-trump/article_e093b513-692f-5da9-ae76-d908161b6e5f.html

 

Beyond the Present

Napa County’s 140,000 citizen’s can’t halt the torrential rain of developers arriving here with plans to build. If you are keeping score at home the developers remain unbeaten. Among the wealthiest among us a trophy property in this famed wine region is an essential element to any property portfolio. Government is controlled by Big Ag. You may want to be on the Board of Supervisor’s only if the wine industry deems your vote as sympathetic to the cause and your spine sufficiently pliant.

The velocity of the pillaging has only increased with land prices. Ordinary folk are squeezed out. The wealthiest among us grouse about not being able to land helicopters at “our” vineyards. They are crestfallen to learn their original 20,000 square foot chateau’s are going to be needlessly scaled back.

All this desecration is taking place before a numb and distracted public. Big money drowns the popular will. Getting in the way of the juggernaut risks personal ruin.  Fish extinction events are in the history books now. Childhood cancer rates are the worst in the state and remain under study while astute players continue to spray pesticides and resist regulation. Water tables are fragile and any slowdown in pumping of groundwater is deemed unnecessary. With the valley built out what remains is now under threat.

That’s the score. This is the truth beneath the veneer. The barons of big business can’t help themselves and the ordinary citizens are so far unable to organize and stop them. The denial is soon to come to a bitter ecosystem induced end that nobody paid well enough to look the other way ever saw coming.

Billionaires Know Everything

our-peeps

Our Common Humanity Rising Up Against Power

Science historian Naomi Oreskes of Harvard University speaking at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco on January 6, 2017 when asked what can we do about climate change said this. “Don’t build any more pipelines, keep the oil and coal in the ground, and end Federal tax subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.”

We know that solar is the cheapest way to make a watt of electricity now. We know that the electrification of our transportation system is irreversible. We know that regenerative farming techniques can capture more carbon and rebuild depleted soils. We know that agriculture hasn’t even started to deploy laser leveling of fields and drip water irrigation systems on a large scale.

The problems mankind faces is that we can’t quite organize ourselves in a market based system that rewards the producers and consumers to choose the best long term technologies, to earn less now but to save our one earth so that future generations may have a healthy and sustainable planet to further humanities quest to thrive over the coming  millions of millennia.

light-fixture

Los Angeles Public Library  Light Fixture

Big time is about thinking in terms beyond our current generations lifespans. In eighty plus years we can only begin to imagine what a thousand years from now might mean. But, that is our task. We owe our brothers and sisters of the future a chance at coming here and advancing our experiment with intelligent life.

I am not unique. To express ourselves to the challenge we need to advance those technologies that give our future a chance. This isn’t difficult. We all know what to do. Our current social, economic, and political system is out of date. The formula that got us here isn’t the set of ideas and systems that is going to get us to the future.

I’ll close with a bit from my latest novel, Women of the Oak Savannahs

“You want your country to be like you, you want us all to be losers… fat, short, educated, liberal losers. I’ll never be a loser. Never! I don’t know how to lose. Put that on your front page. Make that your headline. Tell them the goddamn truth for once. Spare your readers stories of my prowess in bed, why bore your readers by stating the obvious. How it is that a young, beautiful South American woman who asked to spend time with me, to dine, to dance and drink the finest wines with me, took me into her heart, fell in love, and surrendered her life to me. Tell your readers the truth, and the truth is, you know nothing about life, and a billionaire knows everything.”

Grayson Gale, Gale Vineyards

Napa Valley

 

 

 

Putinesque Trumpet Call

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Weasels in Wonderland

So, maybe it’s just me, but it sounds odd to my ear that Trump is bellyaching about the CIA’s analysts having come to the conclusion that Russian hackers at the direction Vladimir Putin had intentionally interfered with our election.

After a week of cabinet picks that have more in common with a wrecking ball than governance our country seems on a course to gleefully dismantle itself right in front of our very eyes.

Labor secretary that is opposed overtime pay or minimum wage, Environmental Protection Agency secretary opposed to environmental protection, Secretary of Education opposed to public education… are you paying attention to this?

Affordable Care Act? Thirty million people slated to lose insurance first thing Republicans do in January. Social Security? Cut benefits, privatize. Medicare? Vouchers ship back to states so long- good luck- nice knowing you- you switch and bait schmucks.

We had 2.7 million more votes in this election cast for the loser, and the flim-flam man slips into office via about 77,000 accumulative votes in three states that according to some computer geeks doing some deep data diving seem to feel that the difference between paper ballot tally’s and electronic voting machine results show some disturbing anomalies.

The Koch’s fund this scam thing called ProporNot, like propaganda or not, to smear progressive news outlets in an effort to help ferment further disinformation about what is left of our news organizations ability to function in this post-truth era of low information obsessed with the smartphones voters.

 But, this is the state of our affairs. We’ve got a man with the temperament of a seventh grader heading to the White House with the support of mostly rural American voters (think right wing talk radio hosts) who happen to think just like Vladimir Putin. Good luck suckers. You just might have finally really done it this time.

Against the Grain

barn

The Next Steps

The current novel I am drafting is set in Napa County. Climate change, inequality and the health of of both the people and environment is under stress. Studying groundwater levels, fish extinction events, the alarming increase of childhood cancer rates (the highest in any county in California) has been painful to acknowledge. There has been a loss of innocence in my life. County officials in lockstep with the biggest agricultural corporations in the valley dictate what does and doesn’t happen here. The climate is changing, the available water has all been claimed. It is a jewel of a county and California’s smallest. It has grown into a world class international tourist destination. Both businesses and visitors clamor to come here and get a piece of the action. A wide array of community organizations are struggling to slow the rapid rate of growth. We’ll need more soul searching to bridle the billion dollar corporations that find sustainability issues irrelevant to their business plans. The struggle to thwart the rich and powerful from reining down ruin upon this world class destination falls upon the ordinary citizens who live here. Tough stuff… now with the changes in Washington DC the mood of the country seems to have turned against any further supervision or regulation of this great treasure the gods have handed to us. So, yes, I am the loyal opposition. Good ideas I’ll cooperate with and bad ideas I’ll resist. This is where we find out if we can save the world…

Crushing Fame Games

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Scene from 2015 Valley Fire

Lake County, California

Plenty busy now and well along on my fourth novel. In this scene I am dealing with how money in politics is influencing the winegrowing region of Napa County.  The billionaires in the region have an outsized influence over the valley. Preserving this wine growing wonder of the world is in harms way. Too much money and too few citizens appreciate the pressure California’s smallest county is under.

“Alex Dominguez is the dude. County Board of Supervisor. I read on the website that he describes himself as a moderate, friendly to business Democrat.” Tyler starts filling out the check. “One man’s business friendly Democrat could look an awful lot like a bend over backwards do anything you want Republican. Alex needs to understand that the business friendly Democrats up here in Soda Canyon have a different point of view than those business friendly Democrats down on the valley floor.”

“I’m not here to talk policy, make any promises. That’s what Alex does. He makes the promises.”

“A broken campaign promise will get my dads Texas temper in a tantrum. He is the epitome of what you call a business friendly valley floor Democrat.”

“You can give to the campaign if you and your group want. But, Alex can’t make any specific promises.”

“My daddy, the valley dude, he told me while he was still bouncing me off his knee if you want good representation you have to be wiling to help get that person into office, that’s how politics in this country is practiced.”  He tore the check out of the register. “We got a beekeeper up here worried about maintaining the wild forage her honeybees depend on. Got a family with relatives from Flint, Michigan concerned about vineyards contaminating our watershed. We’re worried about climate change, spike in childhood cancer rates.” Tyler handed over the check. “We are concerned about the having some big shot, private equity operators coming up here on the east side and smooth talking the supervisors into cutting down what’s left of our wild oak woodlands.”

“This is for twenty thousand dollars.” The man said.

Tyler, Ronnie and Jessica laughed, “There’s a lot of money in honey.”

“There are lots of folks who don’t want anymore trees cut down.” Jessica said.

Tyler started walking the staff member off his property. Put his arm around his shoulders to confide privately, “I’d like to hear Alex take a position on what he’s going to do before the election. Otherwise we might have to do the same thing he trying to do and play both sides of the isle.”

“I’ll let Alex know.”

“I finally feel like we are communicating.”

The Boar’s Big Oil Agony

Pecked to Death
                                                                Boar and Raven

We are ungovernable. We can’t do it.

In other batshit crazy news you might have noticed that the decline of crime is being correlated to a decline in airborne lead levels. Take the lead out of gasoline and just like that you get a 70% decrease in violent crime. Who knew?

The king is not the President it is the status quo, and they very much appreciate the rigged form of capitalism that has been rammed down democracies throat.

The state of being ungovernable is misery itself. We don’t recognize the place. Who knew we would coddle torturers? Why in the world would we give trillions of dollars to bankers and yet still sneer and beat down upon the sick and poor? We have our answer.

Sideshows… there is no longer anything happening center ring.
Capitalism isn’t one thing. It consists of many rules, many different arenas, with many different players. Just mentioning a change in any rule is to invoke being called a communist, socialist, anti­-business feudalist from a family of Neanderthals.

I love that hacks shilling for peanuts from their bosses go to the thesaurus to infuse their tantrums with Mongolian herd rhetoric. Terrific cognitive spear chucking indeed.

I’ll end with this. We are on the verge of producing unlimited amounts of hydrogen. It can be stored as a gas and when it is used to create electricity produces oxygen and water. Need I say this more clearly? OK, clarity then, this solves the climate change crisis civilization faces.

Hydrogen is an excellent means of storing energy. Experimental renewable energy systems in Colorado are scaling the technology as you read this.

Back to being ungovernable. Remember that the threat to civilization is climate change, and it isn’t just a game changer it has the potential to be a game ender.

Stalemates in government give capitalism the time it needs. Even an
existential crisis for the whole of humanity isn’t enough. Obviously there is nothing more important than money you “moronic goon.”

From Hot Spring Honeymoon, “Conventional demolition work didn’t pay near as good as nuclear annihilation, but Fletcher rightly calculated that there wouldn’t be much use for money in a world that no longer existed.”

The revolution will not be televised. Instead the shills for capitalism read their own eulogies. They can’t argue so they lie. We are not supposed to understand, there is nothing to think about, we are supposed to remain in their control.

Solutions abound even if the arena is clogged with pawns sent to defend the filthy obsolete technologies of the last century.

The Saudi royal family knows this all too well. Oil has hitting rock bottom and like all things fated to end it is where the obsolete, the infirm all go to be buried.

Kissing George Wallace at a Petting Party

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Fire the Boat Up… We’re Coming For Them…

It is all connected. Let’s review. Climate change is real and carbon dioxide buildup in the atmosphere is the cause of the problem.

Income inequality is real and uber wealthy titans of industry and finance have rigged capitalism and now literally spray money to regulators and politicians to maintain the status quo. This is a problem.

Sideshows? Sure we got plenty. In U.S. it is voter suppression legislation. The majority up at the House of Representatives is of the opinion that the voting rights act does not need to be renewed. They are a problem.

Union busting has been such a success we need to move on. What else can we do? Let’s defund social security. It ain’t nothing but a New Deal communist plot to weaken the spineless and lazy laborers.

More… We will create a 401K, then we’ll make it kind of cheesey… make it kind of mathematical and then while it looks like you are getting a 5% return on your retirement account we’ll let the fund managers take 2% off the top leaving you with 3%… Yeah, that gets the fund managers 40% of your return. You got that or is it too hard to wrap your head around? You shouldn’t be allowed to vote you are so stupid. You can be your own worse problem.

That my friends is what we are up against. Ready for this one? About 90 multinational corporations are responsible for most of the greenhouse gases being dumped into the worlds atmosphere. Ninety multinationals with thousands of locations, but when you are fighting snakes you go for the head of the animal not its tail.

The parade of rush hour traffic goes and surrounds each one of these ninety titans of industry and we punch them in the face (dramatic expression only… use your words) until they figure out how to stop dumping all the carbon dioxide they make into the atmosphere?

It isn’t complicated. That feeling of helplessness you are feeling isn’t a symptom it is a feature. The Fear News Channel pumps non-stop terror into your amygdala keeping you hypnotized into believing that what we really need is a bigger bomber and more guns in the hands of our citizens.

What if what we needed was a posse to saddle up and go arrest a few hundred white collar elites throw them in jail and then be sure to pay a fair wage to workers who we hire to shut down and or clean up those ninety multinational corporations?

Our institutions are failing us and by us I mean the collective good will of virtually every citizen I speak to on the street in the course of my day. I do not meet a single soul that wants to burn every last piece of carbon based fuel on this earth, incinerate ourselves and literally bring civilization to an end.

Citizens I know are also for a fair wage for a fair days work. Most of us are so piss poor at math we don’t even know what it means to have a boss that earns 400 times more salary than we do. What does that mean? It means if you get a salary of $4000. per month your boss is making $1,600,000. (one million six hundred thousand dollars) per month.

When you explain this most people cannot believe that is the truth. No wonder we want to privatize education. You see we count on you not be able to count and even when you can count we count on you not having any faith you could do a damn thing about it. So far they’ve been right.

You are reading my outline to my next novel and it will be a comedy. If you got a problem with any of this maybe time to ask yourself how whether its just a faith based case of delusion you got gripping your mind.

Ninety multinational corporations… and every single one of them is run by some guy who wished he’d been around to vote for George Wallace.

Hot Spring Honeymoon is now on Kindle Select… ” I didn’t want the book to end…”